July 31st, 2006

By James Castwell

This might be of some help to you new guys and maybe a few old-timers too. I was thinking about how some casters watch their loops, both front and back, and how some do not. When we get into fly fishing there is so much to learn and we really aren't interested in much of it unless it relates to actually catching something. We all are willing to admit we could do a better job of casting and for the most part, we are about good enough to get the job done. That is, we have learned just enough to be able to put our fly roughly where we want it, when we want it.

There is so much to learn about; the non-tapered end of our fly line, the size of the butt section of our leader, how long it is and all the rest, no wonder we don't always get everything right. At least, I sure don't.

First of all, when you are fishing is not the time to practice your casting. Ok, you can work on accuracy and a few things, but real practice is like charity, it begins at home. If you want to get better at it you must find someplace, even the street if there isn't a lot of traffic, to practice, a place where you can use a fly line that you will not use for fishing. And you are not going to have a fly on it either. Don't forget to at least have a chunk of mono on the end, about the length of a leader, maybe seven to nine feet. Without this your cast will not work no matter how hard you try. I have several old leaders and put a bit of red fuzz on the end, so I can see where the thing lands.

Now, as to watching your loops, finally. If, and that's a big 'IF' you have a nice tight front loop on a cast, what is one of the things that tells you? It says you have just had a pretty good backcast, that's what. How does one get a 'pretty good' backcast? One way I know of is so easy it is almost illegal. When we are teaching and have someone throwing big energy-inefficient back loops, mostly caused by not stopping his rod on the back cast, all I tell him is to turn his head and watch three back casts in a row. Sounds simple? It is. And it works.

If you are having any problems in that area, give it a try. Just watch three of your backcasts. You might be surprised how well it can work. Once you get the backcasts tightened up, your forward casts will improve right away. And, you will not have to turn your head and watch them. But, if you see your front loops getting big or sloppy, guess where the problem might be.

It is always fun to watch a person learn how valuable his backcast is. About like a light-bulb turning on. That one simple thing can actually double your casting quality. So it boils down to this. You only need to watch and be able to control your front and back loops if you want to consider you know how to cast. Simple really. Nothing to it. I still practice; gratefully, I'm still learning. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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